How to get FCC Radio Operator Permit for FAA Commercial and Private Pilots

Steps get your FCC Radio Operator Permit

FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit

FAA certificated pilots operating VHF radios and flying within the United States do not require any aircraft radio licensing or operator’s permit. Private or Commercial Pilots who fly outside of the United States, or who wish to operate an HF Radio need to obtain a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit from the Federal Communications Commission or FCC.

FCC’s website is not easy to navigate and hunting for information there is not an easy feat. Here are the 2 easy steps one needs to follow to secure your Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RROP).


Steps to Obtain FCC RR Operator Permit

Step 1 – With FCC, you have to first register for FRN Number – FCC Registration Number on CORES (Commission Registration System) Here is a link to get one – 


Step 2 – Log on to FCC’s license management system(using the login information you created in step 1), and select RR – Restricted Radiotelephone from the drop down menu. Here is a link to license management site – 


Answer No to all 3 questions on the next page, go through couple other steps including certification, pay the fee and you are done. (click the pic on the right)

Hope this helps. 

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56 Responses

  1. Just to clarify (I’m a little dense some times) its log into the second link.
    Click “Apply for new license” at top of right hand bar.
    Then “RR restricted operator” not “AC aricraft” correct? Both lead to the same 3 yes/no questions with just one extra one in between for AC

    1. Yes Nick, it is RR Restricted Operator. The other one is if you need a license for the aircraft, which is not what you would need as a pilot. As a pilot, we are an operator.

          1. Im confused. I see that this person somehow got a printable version of the licenses but I can not seem to find it anywhere. Iv been scrolling through the comments and it seems like it will be mailed to the address? What one is it? Print it out or it will be mailed. Im looking for a RR license for my ATP-CTP.

          2. I know it comes in the mail. It is on this special and official looking cheap paper.

      1. Hey there Prince!

        I appreciate this article as it helped guide me to applying for my RR just now! Only question I am trying to figure out now is what is the difference between the RR that I now have obtained and the aircraft A/C one? Do you need both a “pilot” radio license and then an “aircraft” license (to be kept in the airplane) in order to conduct international travel? TIA!

  2. Thank you for your directions. There site was not very informative. When I found your directions it made life much easier. Thanks again!

  3. How can I get a copy of my FCC (RROP) license that I lost and don’t remember license number do I need to apply for a new
    license. I trayed with my name and no records found

    1. I have never had luck trying to find records on their site. Maybe you should just apply for a new one. I am sure it would be easier and faster.

  4. First, thanks for the info.
    I just went in. On the second step under the RR drop down, one of the statements is that this is needed for radio stations except those that operate only on vhf and do not make foreign flights. It looks like we do not need this if using vhf frequencies only and not making foreign flights.

  5. I used your direction to get FCC license, follow your instructions. after payment I print form 159 and payment. Now wait for mail to come with card. Thankyou. Not happy about the money cost, but need fcc license.

  6. Thanks
    Very well presented, otherwise it would be impossible to navigate through this site.
    My only question is, without any test, what value this permit has? There was no question about what type of flying license one has, or if the person is proficient enough in radio communication?
    Any one used in countries abroad?

  7. THANK YOU – I would have never figured that out – starting with FRN vs FCC user name (apparently two separate user databases) and the myriad of options.

  8. Hello,

    I did all your steps and pay $70.00. After that the page still says my application is Pending and I have no license yet.

    What should I do?

  9. So, just to clarify, if I’m flying my C172 from Florida to the Bahamas, I need to file for the FCC Radio Operator Permit for myself, the PIC, as outlined above AND… (here’s the question) do I also need to obtain some sort of radio license permit for the airplane? One permit for the operator and one permit for the airplane?

    1. Hello Nina. Yes that is correct. There has to be a Radio Operator License, which is the process listed in this article, and then there has to be a ship radio license. You can get one of those from the FCC’s website as well.

      1. I went through the process for a ship’s operators license. There were 2 fees listed, one for $70 and another for $100. Since I already paid $70 for the operators license is that redundant or is the total cost for the operator and ships license $70+$70+100 = $240?

    1. Go to the start of the application prompts. Be sure to click “no” to the question “are you working outside of the US.” I think by default its on “yes.” I had the same issue. Good luck

  10. Thanks for the info! Typically how long does it take to be delivered after complete the new application?

  11. I am applying RR-Restricted Radiotelephone as an individual. Do I need to pay both the application fees and regulatory fees?

  12. My permit is tattered and worn since being issued in 1992. I read that I could get a new one if I changed my address with FCC. I now have a FRN. How to I trigger a new permit?

  13. I followed the link and paid the $70 fee three months ago, but I have not received anything in the mail. Am I supposed to get a physical license to carry?

  14. Thank you so much for your tutorial. I was always told that the hardest thing about getting your FCC License is navigating the FCC website.

  15. Hi There, My wife and I fly our own aircraft together here in the United States on our FAA pilot certificates. We both have a Flight Radiotelephone Operator License included on our ICAO issued Australian Commercial and ATP certificates, which we had to sit an exam for at the time. Will that be sufficient to cover the FCC Radio Operator Permit when we fly our N registered aircraft in another country?

  16. Had a restricted radio operator’s license for private pilot many years ago. Wanting to get back into flying now after several years and cannot find it. Can I apply to the FCC for a copy or do I need to get a new one? Don’t remember the number on it or the date.

    1. Bob, FCC restricted radio license is not required for flying within the country anymore. You do not need to get a replacement one, unless you are flying for the airlines, or flying bigger airplanes with HF radios, or flying across the borders to foreign countries.

      1. Hi Prince,

        Excellent responses to all the questions. I was issued a radiotelephony licence in 1980. I still have the original card, but it has an expiry date of 5 years from that September 1980 date. I flew with the airlines between the Caribbean and the USA from 1980-2001, then between the Middle East and the USA from 2001 until the present. There is the possibility that I may be flying in the USA again. How do I generate a replacement FCC Radiotelephony licence? The one I have only has my name and signature on it – no serial number, nothing to make it “unique”. How do best proceed?

  17. I submitted my request but couldn’t pay, i was redirected to a separate window which i was to log into and pay for my application. I couldn’t log in there. Checking my application status though does indicate that i submitted the application. How do i get to the payment screen for a submitted application?

  18. I’m applying for a job that requires a FCC commercial radio license but doesn’t specify anything further…. And as you know it’s very vague on the website. So basically I just have to apply for the license and that’s it? I was assuming the commercial radio license is a little different.

    1. JB, commercial radio license would be different than what we are covering in this article. We are talking about a restricted radio license here. I am not an expert on FCC, so you should contact FCC directly to get more info on commercial radio license. Wishing you all the best.

  19. Hey Brother, thank you!!! Was able to get my registration completed in seconds super easy, now I am able to apply for positions that require an FCC license, thank you 🙂

  20. Wow, if this isn’t a money grab racket! Why do we put up with this nonsense? 3 mindless questions and 70$??? Then hope to see it in the mail?

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